My Experience As An Investigator

The Testimony of Ariel Nessel


My name is Ariel Nessel and I am a supporter of Animal Equality, just like you. 

The reason why I am writing to you today is because I experienced first-hand what investigators experience every day as I ventured with them inside some of India’s farms, animal markets, and slaughterhouses. 

As someone who follows Animal Equality’s work, you may have read Sharon’s email yesterday and seen my video. 

You may be wondering why I decided to step inside such horrible places with them. Why not just keep on supporting them and the work they do? 

The reason is simple: I had the opportunity to visit these terrible facilities and desperately felt compelled to see these places for myself to truly understand the issues, instead of picturing it. And I felt that once I saw first-hand what animals are forced to endure, this powerful experience would stay with me for the rest of my life and I’d never stop fighting for them. 

During the many years I have supported Animal Equality’s work I have seen several of their shocking investigations. 

But nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in India during those days. What it means to stand next to countless animals who are suffering to death and not be able to do anything to save them. 

As someone who practices mindfulness, I have always looked to India as an inspiration. 

After all, this is the country where vegetarianism originated and where many religions teach the practice of Ahimsa, which means non-violence towards all beings. A principle that has guided my life for many years. 

And that’s perhaps why the scene that affected me the most was in a dairy farm. 

I recall entering a small shed and seeing a calf. He was only 14 days old, he was thin and frightened. He was tied up all alone and could not move. His innocent eyes were full of pain and sadness. 

It was devastating to see a newborn creature kept away from his mother and from any other form of warmth like that. I didn’t understand why they would leave him there, without food or water, to slowly die. 

And that’s when I learned something truly disturbing. 

Since male calves don’t produce milk, minutes after they are born, they are tied up, confined alone and left to starve to death. I was stunned. 

How is it possible that a country that had taught me – and many others – so much about compassion, has fallen victim to an industry so cruel? 

But it is not just India. Every year in the world, 72 billion land animals and 1.2 trillion aquatic animals are confined and killed for food. And even though the way it is done varies from country to country, the suffering this industry causes the animals is the same. 

Extreme confinement, separation of mothers and babies, painful mutilations, and slaughter are no less painful when done in the US, where I’m from, or in the UK. 

Animal agriculture is one of the cruellest and most powerful industries in the world, with billions of pounds at its disposal. But it is not unbeatable. 

Thanks to organisations like Animal Equality, people all over the world are opening their eyes and coming to realise the lies they have been fed for years. That’s how change is created. 

And if you are here, reading my email, you are one of those people who wants to create a better world – not only for yourself, but also for future generations to grow up in. 

To date, Animal Equality has released over one hundred investigations into more than 800 farms and slaughterhouses, in 14 countries around the world, creating lasting, meaningful change for animals. 

It is a privilege to be part of this movement with these people, with YOU, doing this work. 

And while it was an honour to accompany them on one of their investigations, my experience gave me an insight into the lives of these brave activists who venture into farms and slaughterhouses to expose the abuses to which animals are subjected.  

I am talking about the investigators who, despite having witnessed the suffering of animals helplessly countless times, keep going back. 

Do you know why? Because for them that is nothing compared to the suffering of those innocent animals.  

They have made it their mission to tell the stories of these animals to the world, so they are not countless, nameless beings, but individuals whose lives and feelings matter. 

I call them ‘compassionate warriors’ because what they are fighting is a real battle. A battle for justice, for a kinder world. A battle that you and I have decided to fight side by side with them. 

But they need and deserve our support. Because, even though we cannot be with them inside farms and slaughterhouses, we can make sure to provide them with the resources they need to show what they find to the world and inspire tomorrow’s change. So that their important work and the suffering of the millions of animals they have filmed is not in vain. 

That’s why I ask you to please support them and their bravery by donating to Animal Equality today. There has never been a better time to do so, as right now all donations received are matched by an anonymous donor at no extra cost to you. 

There’s a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind – can be attained by giving them to someone else. 

Thank you for being part of this compassionate movement, 

Ariel Nessel

Who is Ariel Nessel?

Ariel Nessel is an American philanthropist and entrepreneur, who strongly believes in the good in people as the most powerful resource to build a kinder and more compassionate world.  

He has supported our work and mission for many years and because of this, he has joined Animal Equality on several occasions, in Mexico and India, to document what happens behind the closed doors of farms and slaughterhouses and bear witness to the suffering caused by animal agriculture. 

Ariel witnessed first-hand the suffering of farmed animals. He was shocked to see how a country that has always had so much to teach about compassion and kindness has fallen victim to a cruel system where there is no place for empathy or mercy. 

Visiting these places brings immense gratitude to me for the investigators. At one point our safety was in danger, and I realised these investigators go through this almost every day.

Ariel Nessel